In 2018, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute hosted its first annual RISE conference. Standing for the Reagan Institute Summit on Education, RISE 2018 was a day-long bipartisan conference assessing the American education landscape in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the seminal report: A Nation at Risk. RISE 2018 took place on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. There were over a dozen panels in the day-long session focusing on the state of education, reducing recidivism through postsecondary education opportunities, the need for broadband access throughout schools and more. The closing panel was entitled An Educated Citizenry and it was a discussion between US Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett, as moderated by Dr. Akhil Reed Amar, a professor of law and political science at Yale University. During the hour long panel, the justices discussed everything from the importance of engaged citizenry and getting involved, to dealing with dissenting opinions, to the importance of just breaking bread with your fellow colleagues or classmates to connect on a more one-on-one level.

Recall that Governor Reagan began his first term as a novice who promised to squeeze, cut and trim the costs of government. By 1971, he was an experienced politician with an able finance director in Verne Orr and a competent chief of staff in Ed Meese. So they got to work. And in a sweeping welfare reform program, Governor Reagan stiffened penalties for fraud, removed employed recipients from welfare, and required adult children to help support their parents on welfare, among other changes. By 1974, welfare caseloads dropped 20 percent, benefits rose 43 percent for residents with no income, welfare fraud cropped and California saved hundreds of millions of dollars. Reagan, as governor and as president always struggled with the idea of welfare because, as he said, “the principal issue in any welfare reform proposal is whether or not it’ll help people become self-sufficient and lead a full life or keep them in a state of dependency.” It’s a question Americans struggle with to this day and Reagan, after leaving Sacramento and before the White House, delivered several radio addresses on the subject. So in today’s podcast, we’ll listen to a few good ones and let him tell the story. Let’s start with December 1976.

So let’s take a look at some current news on grain and the Ukraine. It’s been reported that Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations are due to sign a deal aimed at resuming Black Sea grain exports from Ukraine, which have been severely hampered by the war there. Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion has stalled exports from Ukraine’s ports, leaving dozens of ships stranded and some 20 million tons of grain stuck in silos at Odessa. Moscow has denied responsibility for worsening the food crisis, blaming instead a chilling effect from Western sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports. However, in July 2022, drone footage revealed that Russia was setting Ukrainian wheat fields on fire, thus putting a massive strain on the country’s grain exports. Those battered and harassed Ukrainian farmers are racing to save their crops from Russian shell strikes. So, here we go again playing the grain game. Let’s go back 40 years ago to August 1982, when the Russian grain embargo had just been lifted and President Reagan worked to help the American farmer.

For years, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation has been hosting a national Great Communicator Debate Series in which high schoolers grades 9 through 12 across the nation compete for their share of $50,000 in college scholarships. The final debates were held in the Reagan Library’s Air Force One Pavilion on July 23, 2022, with the scholarships for the winners being supported by an endowment fund created through the generosity of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. In this week’s Reagan Forum Podcast we bring you that national championship debate.

Today’s subject? The Presidential Press Conference. We’re going to cover his July 1982 press conference which President Reagan noted in his diary that…went well – after feeling less than pleased about previous press conference. When and why did this tradition start? Since Woodrow Wilson held the first presidential press conference in March 1913, all of his successors have used the sessions as a basic part of their publicity strategies. The sessions have survived because reporters found them useful for developing information, citizens saw them as valuable for making judgments about their chief executives, and presidents and their staffs saw them as a primary strategy for explaining their policies. Of course, presidents could give speeches laying out their policies, but press conferences have become a major way to explain the intricacies of those policies as the proposals made their way through the legislative process.

Last week we brought you the program for the Nancy Reagan Forever Stamp artwork unveiling held with Dr. Jill Biden at the White House. In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast we are going full circle by sharing Mrs. Reagan’s 101st birthday program on July 6, 2022. During that event, the United States Postal Service joined us again, this time for the first day issue of the stamp. During this program, remarks were made by Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service Louis DeJoy and Dennis Revell, Mrs. Reagan’s former son-in-law.

In light of the war in Ukraine, we thought that looking back to Ronald Reagan’s ideas on human rights and the captive nations might be pertinent. Going back to 1975, Ronald Reagan opposed President Gerald Ford’s signing of the final act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – known as the Helsinki Accords on August 1, 1975. Why, you ask? Well, he objected on the ground that it codified the captive nation status of Eastern Europe; that the Soviet Union and other communist states routinely violate human rights; and once again, that such states cannot be trusted to honor agreements.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast we are sharing a special program with you. From July 6, 2021 through July 6, 2022, we are honoring the 100th year since Mrs. Reagan’s birth with a national centennial celebration. As part of the centennial celebration, the United States Postal Service has honored Mrs. Reagan with a forever stamp, which will go on sale on July 6, 2022, her 101st birthday. On June 6, 2022, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted the Nancy Reagan Centennial by unveiling the artwork. Joining Dr. Biden for the program was Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service Louis DeJoy, Reagan Foundation and Institute Chairman Fred Ryan, and Ann Petersen, Mrs. Reagan’s niece.

About 40 years ago, President Ronald Reagan took bold steps to protect a storied U.S. manufacturing company from foreign competitors. At the time, challenges in international trade, specifically, how to deal with the flood of Japanese car and motorcycle imports, was a serious problem.

If you look back at Ronald Reagan’s career, whether you agree with his policies or not, there’s one thing no one can dispute, and that’s his staunch, hopeful patriotism. Journalist and author Nancy Gibbs wrote, “Hope is an infectious disease, and Reagan was a carrier. The country he courted and finally won over in 1980 was a dispirited place, humiliated abroad, uncertain at home, with a hunger for heroes but little faith that they could make any difference. But you can, he told us. I am not the hero, you are.” “Let us renew our faith and our hope,” he declared in his first Inaugural Address. “We have every right to dream heroic dreams.” And he would serve as Dreamer in Chief. “What I’d really like to do,” he said after six months in the White House, “is go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again.”

In this week’s “A Reagan Forum” we go back just two days for our in-person event with Fox News host Pete Hegseth. Pete joined us to discuss his new book, Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation. Pete Hegseth joined Fox News Channel in 2014, first as a contributor, but now as a co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend. In addition, over the past few years, Pete has hosted Fox News Channel’s New Year’s Coverage, most recently ringing in 2022 from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating college, Pete was commissioned as an infantry officer into the US Army National Guard in 2003. In 2004, his unit was called to Guantanamo Bay where he served as an infantry platoon leader. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Shortly after returning from Cuba, Pete volunteered to serve in Baghdad and Samarra, where he held the position of Infantry Platoon Leader and, later in Samarra, as a Civil-Military Operations Officer.

The subject of today’s podcast is inflation…yes, just like the song, everything old is new again. What we’re going to hear today are two angles: a radio address he delivered on Inflation and Recession in 1975 and in the second half of the podcast, we’ll hear the president report directly after leaving Washington on how he handled the problem of inflation.

In this week’s “A Reagan Forum” we go back a few weeks to our virtual program program with New York Times bestselling author Marcus Brotherton. Marcus previously joined us a year ago – on Memorial Day 2021 – and is back for his latest book, A Bright and Blinding Sun: A World War II Story of Survival, Love and Redemption. We invited Marcus to share his book with our audience as part of our programming surrounding our new special exhibition at the Reagan Library – the Secrets of WWII. Marcus is best known for his books with high-profile figures, humanitarians, inspiration leaders, and military personnel. His works include books with the elite WWII paratroopers featured in FBI’s Band of Brothers and the elite WWII Marines featured in HBO’s The Pacific. He also co-wrote Gary Sinise’s autobiography, Grateful American.

The place is…Berlin and the date is June 1982, FIVE years before he delivered his historic speech at the Brandenburg gate, demanding that the wall be torn down. This was during the Brezhnev years, long before Gorbachev and Glasnost were in the picture. It’s easy to forget how clearly President Reagan expressed his disgust with the Soviets and the Berlin Wall, many years before the so-called climax at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987.

In this week’s “A Reagan Forum” we go back one month to our in-person program with former US Navy Seal Sniper and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr. Jack joined us to discuss the release of his latest book – which is the fifth in his James Reece Novel Series – In the Blood. Jack Carr led special operations teams as a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander and Task Unit Commander. He later became a Navy Seal sniper, leading assault and sniper teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he later commanded a Special Operations Task Unit in the most Iranian influenced section of southern Iraq throughout the tumultuous drawdown of US Forces. Following his years in service of our country, he became a thriller novelist, applying the experiences and emotions from real-world combat to the pages of his novels. During our program, Jack sat down in conversation with Reagan Foundation and Institute Chief Learning Officer Tony Pennay to discuss his James Reece novels.

Constructed in the early hours on August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall was characterized by the Soviets as “a democratic anti-fascist protective structure.” Now isn’t that an interesting statement? Today Putin is using the same angle, claiming their intrusion into Ukraine is an anti-fascist gesture. The Berlin wall was built to end the flow of East Germans into the West. The Wall was built and within hours, friends and family were divided by barbed wire and concrete. Fast forward to the Spring of 1987. Negotiations from the Reykjavik Summit in 1986 had stalled and Gorbachev noted after visiting the Berlin Wall….get this…. that “At the Brandenburg Gate, one can clearly see how much strength and true heroism the defense of the first socialist state on German soil requires against the attacks of the class enemy.” Aware of such language, President Reagan was ready to level stronger demands which would echo throughout the West, reverberate behind prison gates in the East and ignite a resolve to fight for freedom. By 1987, President Reagan was ready to take freedom on the offensive, into the heart of the disintegrating Soviet empire.

In this week’s Reagan Forum podcast we go back a week to June 2, 2022 for our in-person event with Senator Ben Sasse, who was a speaker in the Reagan Foundation’s Time for Choosing Speaker Series, a forum for leading voices in the conservative movement. Ben Sasse is the current Senator from Nebraska. He is a member of the intelligence, judiciary, finance and budget committees. Prior to being elected to the Senate, he spent five years as the college president of Midland University, where he was one of the youngest college presidents in the nation, at just 37 years old.

If one thinks about Ronald Reagan’s signature causes, the things that come to mind are peace through strength, economic opportunity, individual liberty, and national pride. What many people have forgotten is his campaign for democracy – yes, a global campaign for democracy – which was launched 40 years ago on June 8, 1982. The setting for that speech? The British Parliament and the speech came to be known as his “Westminster Speech.” He became the first American President to deliver an address before British Parliament and stood in a grand and regal setting, speaking at the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords, with paintings of British military victories lining the walls and guards in their red beefeater uniforms standing behind him.

In this week’s “A Reagan Forum” we go back two weeks to our virtual program with presidential advisor David Gergen. David joined us to discuss the release of his latest book, Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made. David Gergen began his career in journalism, and later as the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. During his career he also served as White House adviser to four U.S. presidents of both parties: Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. During President Reagan’s administration, David served as the director of communications. Speaking on David, President Reagan once said, “Dave is devoted to honest, open, and decent government.”

The Statue of Liberty was designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, as a gift to the United States from France. She arrived in 1885 on our shores in pieces after floating across the Atlantic in 214 crates. All the pieces were assembled on Liberty Island the following year. But by 1984, after welcoming immigrants to New York for almost 100 years, she was in bad shape. In this podcast, we’ll learn about how President Reagan in May 1982, 40 years ago, took action to return Lady Liberty to pristine condition. He called upon Lee Iacocca to create the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to raise the funds necessary for the restoration, and by the 4th of July 1986, she was ready for her debut. In the second half of this podcast, we’ll focus on the final result.